The leaders charged with bringing economic growth to three North
Worcester cities in 2008 and beyond will work toward that goal together.
That was the message that Fitchburg mayor-elect Lisa Wong, Gardner
mayor-elect Mark Hawke and Leominster Mayor Dean Mazzarella sent at a
wide-ranging panel discussion organized by the Mount Wachusett Community
College Center for Democracy and Humanity.
The speakers discussed ways to encourage brownfields development,
streamline permitting and help the area's growing immigrant population
find good jobs. Hawke said that, rather than thinking of themselves as
competitors in attracting businesses, the three communities should
realize that a company locating anywhere in the area will benefit
"There are symbiotic companies that are going to grow up around that
business," he said.
Wong also invited area residents to take part in task forces on
health care, energy and economic development that she is forming in
preparation for taking office in January.
The discussion was part of the community college's "What's Next?"
speaker series, which focuses this year on the new economy in the local
October Home Sales, Prices
After a late summer of flat sales, single-family home sales dropped
by 17.1 percent in October, the second month in a row the market has
experienced double-digit decline, according to a report from the the
Warren Group, the Boston-based publisher of Banker & Tradesman.
Single-family home sales dropped by 18.7 percent in September.
Year-to-date single-family home sales were down 7 percent at the end
of October from 46,797 during the first 10 months of 2006 to 43,535 this
Also, the median price for single-family homes fell in October by the
largest percentage so far this year, according to the Warren Group's
traditional method of calculating prices.
Bank Earnings Lowest Since 2003
In the third quarter, net income at banks insured by the Federal
Deposit Insurance Corporation fell to less than $30 billion for the
first time since early 2003.
FDIC-insured institutions reported net income of $28.7 billion for
the third quarter, a decline of $9.4 billion or 24.7 percent from the
third quarter of 2006.
The FDIC said bad mortgage loans, loan delinquency and loss rates
were up "across all major loan categories" during the quarter. The FDIC
said nearly half of all its insured institutions reported year-over-year
earnings declines in the third quarter.
McGovern, Execs Talk Trade,
Businesses must have a stronger voice in the immigration debate in
order to make sure it doesn't devolve entirely into political
slogan-slinging, said U.S. Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Worcester, at a
discussion regarding international trade.
The discussion was held at EMC Corp.'s headquarters in Hopkinton and
was put on by the Coalition of New England Companies for Trade and the
Massachusetts Export Center.
After comments from McGovern, attendees, including Robert Worth,
president of Worth Imports of Framingham, asked questions and voiced
their concerns. Worth told McGovern, "When I'm looking for unskilled
workers, I find it hard to find American-born workers, and when I do,
they're bad, scary people."
McGovern said he favors helping illegal immigrants become U.S.
citizens. "The business community needs to continue to play a role to
inject a little common sense into that debate," he said.
Business Confidence Down in Bay
A monthly survey of businesses in Massachusetts found that the
economy has some a little worried.
The Associated Industries of Massachusetts Business Confidence Index
dropped 1.6 points in November to 53.6. AIM said survey respondents are
worried that declining home prices and other financial problems could
lead to a serious economic downturn. Respondents were more positive
about their own companies' situations.
The downturn was driven by companies in Greater Boston, where
confidence was down 3.1 percent. In the rest of the state, the numbers
were up marginally, but AIM said the regional indexes don't point to a
Confidence fell most among manufacturers, down 2.4 percent.
The index is based on a monthly survey of AIM member companies and
reported on a 100-point scale.